The city of Boston said that interviews with at least five people suggested that Wynn Resorts was aware that a convicted felon had a stake in the land it acquired to build a casino.
In a court filing on Thursday, the city argued for casting a wider net in gathering evidences in the civil lawsuit it filed against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The city said that witnesses told MGC investigators that Wynn representatives were informed of or discussed Charles Lightbody’s ownership stake before acquiring the 30-acre property on the Everett waterfront across from Boston.
Lightbody, a convicted felon with reputed ties to gangsters, was one of four members of FBT Everett Realty, a trust that paid $8m for the waterfront property in 2009.
An interview with Stephen Tocco, Wynn’s political consultant, showed that Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria had mentioned Lightbody in a conversation prior to Wynn purchasing the land.
Tocco told DeMaria that a reporter was inquiring about the land, reminding him that Wynn would not move forward with the deal if there was anyone with a criminal background involved. DeMaria, in response, asked if the reporter was asking about Lightbody. Tocco, however, said on Monday that his testimony clearly states that he didn’t mention Lightbody to Wynn officials after his brief conversation with DeMaria because the name didn’t ring any bells and he is not involved in the land transaction.
Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver maintains that the company first learned of Lightbody’s ties to the property during the MGC investigation and not prior to purchasing the land.
“A fair and reasonable inference to be drawn from Tocco’s testimony is that Mayor DeMaria knew that Lightbody was an owner of the former Monsanto Chemical Site and a convicted felon, which he communicated directly to Tocco, a long-term, authorized representative of Wynn,” the city said in the legal brief.
The suit, which was filed in October by Boston officials including Mayor Martin Walsh, aims to revoke Wynn’s casino license and to block five MGC members from taking further action on the Greater Boston casino license due to the MGC giving preferential treatment to Wynn’s $1.6-billion project, which beat Mohegan Sun for the lone Boston-area license in September.
The suit also argues that Boston should be a host community to the casino because the only way to access the Everett casino site is through roads owned by the city of Boston.
The MGC has denied wrongdoing and filed a motion to dismiss the city’s massive filing, calling it “verbose, repetitive, argumentative, and confusing.”
On Thursday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders denied the MGC’s request to dismiss the suit outright but granted a motion to prevent any deposition of witnesses until a motion to dismiss the lawsuit was addressed.
The judge schedule a Sept. 22 hearing to consider the state’s other arguments for throwing out the lawsuit.